Last night I attended the official announcement ceremony for Eric Jackson's Mayoral candidacy and as always was impressed with Mr. Jackson's message, a message far different from Mayor Mack's campaign promise of "getting more Black's into City Hall," a sentiment At-Large Councilwoman Kathy McBride also echoed. Anyone who doesn't think that statement is bias and prejudice and just plain wrong.... needs a reality check.
I have always said that the best part about living in Trenton is that you can take a bus for $1.70 and figuratively take a trip around the world if you bother to speak and hold a conversation with the people sitting next to you. We live in a very diverse community and literally represent what the United States is all about; coming from afar, being different but living together, free, as one race; the human race. Our City has the opportunity to become one that other cities model themselves after and aspire to become more like, if and only if we can work together to bring this City back from the brink.
Unlike Mack, Jackson is well aware that the future of Trenton doesn't rest on one person's shoulders rather, it rests on us all. 'United we stand, divided we fall' is not just a pledge, it's the truth! And Jackson's campaign slogan 'Making A Difference, Together' is not just a slogan; it is the answer. Jackson won't be communicating with his Police Director (hopefully he keeps Director Rivera) through a door by passing notes under it. Jackson will not suppress the voices of those who wish to be heard and offer an opinion. Jackson recognises that Trenton's greatest asset is it's citizens.
A unified approach is the only approach, any other strategy will have the same outcome as the Mack administration's. We the people, want a seat at the table, we the people have something to offer and we the people....will not be ignored.
I know all too well how it feels to be treated different based on the color of your skin, my growing up in a predominantly African-American Wilbur Section can be compared to an African-American kid growing up in a predominately White Suburb. I absolutely deplore the feeling, so much so that at the age of 17 I formed a hip-hop group with City resident DJ Juice named 'Equality,' our concept was a White rapper and Black DJ making music that preached racial harmony and that we could move mountains united or climb over them divided.
In the last Trenton mayoral election in 2010 I met other candidates beside Mack that treated me different (gave me that look....you know the look) like John Harmon who was seated next to me at the Eric B & Rakim concert with Senator Shirley Turner. As soon as he saw me he gave me the look, the 'this White boy must be a cop' look, I know that look all too well, on the streets of Trenton a White boy like me is either a cop or drug buyer, we are stereotyped too in case you didn't know. Mr. Harmon made me so uncomfortable that I waited until after he left Senator Turner's side to approach her and thank her for saving the concert the NJSP wanted to shut down. I can name others as well as council candidates but I think you get my point. BTW Jim Golden was John Harmon's campaign manager.
When my good friend Andrew Bobbitt introduced me to Eric Jackson at a Church Fundraiser in 2009 I knew from the moment I shook his hand that he was the one, he was going to be the one to take the helm from Palmer and navigate Trenton into a better future. From the way that he embraced me I could instantly tell that there wasn't a bias bone in his body, he didn't see me as 'some White boy,' he saw me as a human being that cared deeply -as he does- for my community and the direction it was heading. I worked on his campaign in all sorts of ways, even performing Spoken Word at one of his fundraisers and I rarely perform my poetry. I was also one of the campaign workers chosen to count votes and we all know how that ended; three votes shy of a run-off election with Mack which Jackson would have won.
So now we know what happens when we don't register to vote or worse; are registered to vote but don't. We have learned that unlike a Presidential Election where the electorate vote trumps popular vote.....here in Trenton....the popular vote is the law of the land and absolutely every single vote is crucial....just an FYI. Many human beings have given their lives in the name of suffrage rights yet some people reading this post are Googling the word 'suffrage' right now. WAKE UP! Register to vote and actually vote! Your vote counts!
As I have stated before and I will state again - the third battle for Trenton has begun, it started right under our noses and we citizens have become soldiers - And the most valuable weapon in our arsenal is not the cannons used in the first two Battles of Trenton or even the element of surprise and trickery, no, our most powerful weapon in the battle to save Trenton in today's day and age is our power to vote. I will work on Eric Jackson's campaign a second time with faith that my fellow Trentonians, my brothers and sisters in arms, won't get it wrong twice in a row.